Our Lady of Peace Church and Shrine in Santa Clara believes that its indoor Nativity village display may be the largest, most intricate of its kind in California.
The display of almost 200 hand-crafted, life-like figurines from Spain fills an entire room. It depicts the new-born baby Jesus in a Bethlehem manger. But it doesn’t stop there.
Other scenes depict miracles surrounding the birth of Jesus as recounted in the Bible and scenes of every-day life in an Israelite village in the days of King Herod.
The detailed scenes are arranged atop tables covered with 200 pounds of sand. The handcrafted terracotta (clay) and fabric figurines of people and animals and the wooden buildings come from Murcia in the southeast of Spain.
The palm trees are handmade of steel and cork from Barcelona. The mountains are made of paper, also imported from Spain.
It is the first year for this expanded nativity display at Our Lady of Peace. Dedicated Dec. 8 by Fr. Brian Dinkel, IVE, it has already attracted visitors from as far as Texas and Mexico.
“Beautiful! Such attention to detail. Comes alive!” wrote one visitor in the guest book.
One would have to travel to Spain to see a more impressive miniature display of what, in Spanish, is called a “Belen de Navideño.”
Sunnyvale residents Benito Santivañez and his mother, Mary Santivañez, started preparing for the Our Lady of Peace display last July. They spent untold hours designing and creating the village scenes, guided by videos of Spanish Belenes de Navideños that they viewed online.
The Nativity display is open weekdays 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Jan. 6, 2019, with free admission. Location: Our Lady of Peace, 2800 Mission College Blvd., Family Learning Center Room 1101.